NSU – year 1901
Manufacturer: Neckarsulmer Fahrradwerke AG, Neckarsulm, Germany
The business of the company began on 1 April 1880 year in the South German city of Neckarsulm, where Christian Schmidt bought the old mill building and converted it into a sewing machine factory. Seven years later, the new plant director – Gottlieb Benzhoff – decided to produce bicycles as well. Hence, the company was only a step away from the independent production of motorcycles. A brochure from that period commented on it as follows: “For drivers with strong nerves, we decided to produce strong ones, three-wheeled motorcycles, which are admittedly very fast, but you can also drive them slowly”.
The first model, with 1901 year, had a power unit of the Swiss company Zedel. It was an air-cooled single-cylinder engine with power 1,3 kW (1,75 KM), allowing you to reach maximum speed 48 km/h. The frame of the bicycle type was, of course, kidney. The motorcycle had a torpedo-type freewheel rear wheel hub (equipped with a brake) and a front band brake, activated by a lever on the steering wheel. The rear-wheel drive was transferred by a leather V-belt. The vehicle did not have a gearbox. So it was practically a motorized bicycle. The company's serious intentions in the field of motorization are evidenced by the export activities carried out by its representative offices in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, The Netherlands, England and even Russia.
Drive units, initially imported from specialized companies, the plant was soon replaced with engines of its own design with the capacity: 1,5 kW, 1,7 kW, 2 kW i 2,2 kW (2 KM, 2,25 KM, 2,75 KM i 3 KM). Stronger ones were also produced, two-cylinder, V-shaped engines with power 2,2 kW i 3,7 kW (3 KM i 5 KM). The Neckarsulmer Motorrad lettering on the fuel tank was soon replaced with a new one, known all over the world, NSU mark.